Within the FAA, the Flight Standards Service (AFS) sets the aviation standards for airmen and aircraft operations in the United States and for American airmen and aircraft around the world.
The AFS is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and is broadly organized into divisions based on work function (Air Transportation, Aircraft Maintenance, Flight Technology, Training, Certification and Surveillance, a Regulatory Support Division based in Oklahoma City, OK, and a General Aviation and Commercial Division). Regional Flight Standards division managers, one at each of the FAA’s nine regional offices, coordinate AFS activities within their respective regions.
The interface between AFS and the aviation community/ general public is the local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). The approximately ninety FSDOs are strategically located across the United States, each office having jurisdiction over a specific geographic area. [Figure 1-6] The individual FSDO is responsible for all air activity occurring within its geographic boundaries. The individual FSDOs are responsible for the certification and surveillance of air carriers, air operators, flight schools/training centers, airmen (pilots, flight instructors, mechanics and other certificate holders). Additional duties that are tasked to FSDO inspectors is accident investigation and enforcement actions. NOTE: Accident investigation and enforcement actions are a smaller part of a field inspectors job than surveillance and certification.
Each FSDO is staffed by Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASIs) whose specialties include operations, maintenance, and avionics. General Aviation ASIs are highly qualified and experienced aviators. Once accepted for the position, an inspector must satisfactorily complete indoctrination training conducted at the FAA Academy that includes airman evaluation and pilot testing techniques and procedures. Thereafter, the inspector must complete recurrent training on a regular basis. Among other duties, the FSDO inspector is responsible for administering FAA practical tests for pilot and flight instructor certificates and associated ratings. All questions concerning pilot certification (and/or requests for other aviation information or services) should be directed to the FSDO having jurisdiction in the particular geographic area. For specific FSDO locations and telephone numbers, refer to www.faa.gov.